In the female-dominated world of Young Adult fiction, Dan Krokos is making his mark, "firmly a boy...with motorcycle chases and citywide chaos and sword fights" in his new book False Memory. Read on for more details!
When did you decide to start writing?
Dan Krokos: I worked in a gas station for almost ten years. During that time, I read tons of books (sorry BP). In the spring of '07, I was tearing through the Dark Elf series by RA Salvatore. I was completely obsessed. I was so into reading that one day I decided to try writing my own stories.
It was rough in the beginning, but I knew from the start that this was what I wanted to do.
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Tell us a little bit about your latest work. Is this more of a classic sci-fi novel?
If anything, False Memory is more of a thriller with sci-fi elements. I wanted to keep things as grounded in reality as I could. It takes place in the present day, or close to it.
I still love classic sci-fi though, and that’s what my middle grade debut is. The Planet Thieves, which comes out next year, is a pure space adventure somewhere between Star Wars and Star Trek.
What are some of the qualities in your latest work that set it/you apart from what's currently out there on the market?
I would say the action, and the fact that it’s a thriller. The story is bigger than (heroine) Miranda and her friends. If they lose, there is a lot more on the line than just their lives.
And though the protagonist is a girl, I am firmly a boy. There is romance, but I wanted a book with motorcycle chases and citywide chaos and sword fights. I didn’t want to let the characters rest for more than a few pages.
What attracts you to the Young Adult genre specifically?
I really like the faster pace and focused plots that teen books tend to have. I have no attention span, so it suits me. And I really love the idea that teen characters can do and be anything—nothing is set in stone at that age.
Also, you can cover any topic in YA. You can write about mermaids, or depression, or superheroes, or a superhero romance, and if the story is good people will read it.
|Who would you count among your strongest influences, and why?
Suzanne Collins is why I wanted to write YA in the first place. I love the sense of adventure her books have. They’re tense and fun the entire time, which is something I try to do.
George RR Martin showed me that if you can create an atmosphere where the readers believe no character is truly safe, the tension will rise dramatically. In his books, any character can die at any moment, which isn’t a feeling I get when reading most books. Usually I think the main characters will make it through to the end. GRRM has also taught me a lot about how to write a gut-punching sentence. The writing is just so good.
If you could cast the Dream Film Adaptation of your work, who would you cast?
For Miranda, I think Chloe Moretz is perfect. She’s super talented, and I love her versatility. For Peter, I like Kit Harington, even though he’s probably too old. He has Peter’s hair . . . um, not that I noticed.
|From the Book:
Do you have pursuits outside of young adult fiction?
I also write adult and middle grade books, and screenplays. I like to change it up. It keeps me flexible and keeps the writing process fun.